Notre Dame, ranked No. 11, went into Wednesday's night home clash against No. 14 Illinois with an undefeated record and seeking a fourth win over a top 15 opponent but despite a great start in singles they'd be unable to hang on as Illinois came storming back from a 3-1 deficit to win 4-3. Illinois, which was playing just its second match of the season after getting an automatic berth into the National Indoors due to being the host, jumped out to the early 1-0 lead after claiming doubles wins at No. 1 and No. 2. Notre Dame came back in singles and won all six opening sets and would finish three out in straight sets with Alex Lebedev, Tristan McCormick, and Guillermo Cabrera winning at No. 1, No. 4, and No. 6. 

Illinois managed to get splits on the other three courts and one by one they'd all fall the way of the Illini. Zeke Clark cut the deficit to 3-2 with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 win at No. 3 and Caleb Chakravarthi tied it at 3-3 with a 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 win at No. 5. The deciding match at No. 2 would be a back and forth affair with Illinois junior Aleks Kovacevic coming out on top over Notre Dame sophomore Richard Ciamarra 6-7, 6-2, 6-4. Ciamarra went up a break at 4-3 in the third but Kovacevic broke back, held, and broke again to close it out. 

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Former Virginia Tech Hokie Sebastien Jacques is making his way across the country, by foot, after not being able to walk across a room just a few years ago. Jacques played at Virginia Tech from 2007 to 2010 but during his senior year he had to quit playing due to a lack of energy. After graduating with a degree in marketing he returned home to Magog, Canada, and after seeing several doctor he was eventually diagnosed with a pineal cystic tumor in his brain which was the cause of the energy drain. The doctors in Canada determined the procedure was too risky and the health care system wouldn't cover the cost so Jacques ended up raising $80000 and had the surgery performed in California. The surgery was a success and Jacques returned to a normal life but he decided to embark on the cross-country walk to show people that it is possible to overcome obstacles in life. Virginia Tech had a write-up on Jacques a few days ago plus there are plenty of details on his website

The NCAA Division II Men's Championship has reached the semifinals with #1 West Florida advancing after a 5-0 win over #4 Hawaii Pacific. UWF's top player, #4 Alex Peyrot, played doubles but sat out in singles which was interesting because in the round of 16 its #2 player, Gabriel Dias, did the same thing. Next up for UWF will be #23 Southwest Baptist after the Bearcats held off #16 Ferris State 5-4 with Raul Cabalero winning the deciding match 6-2, 4-6, 7-6(1) at #4 singles. The other semifinal match will be between #2 Barry and #3 Columbus State. Barry cruised past #18 Drury 5-1 with the Bucs taking two of three in doubles and winning every completed set in singles. Columbus State ran through #14 Azusa Pacific 5-1 with the Cougars sweeping all three doubles courts (count as a point each) and then getting two straight set wins at #3 and #4. APU got its lone point when Oliver Frank, D2s top ranked player, cruised to a 6-1, 6-3 win at #1. 

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Top seed Vanderbilt knocked off top ranked Florida 4-3 to win the SEC Championship in match that was played indoors at Vanderbilt. Florida played without Josie Kuhlman (#2 singles/#3 doubles) who was sick with a stomach illness but the Gators still rolled through the doubles point to take the early lead. Vandy's Astra Sharma tied the match with a win at No. 1 but Florida's Kourtney Keegan made it 2-1 with a win at No. 5. Vandy's Sydney Campbell pulled out a three set win at No. 2 to even the match at 2-2 but Florida's Anna Danilina put the Gators back in front with a three set win at No. 4. Vandy's Christina Rosca tied the match at 3-3 with a three set win at No. 3 so the final match to go on court in the five-court facility would decide the championship. 

Vanderbilt sophomore Fernanda Contreras won the first nine games of the match to go in front of Florida senior Spencer Liang 6-0, 3-0 but Liang came back to take the next five to go up 5-3. Contreras broke Liang from 15/40 with a lob winner to make it 5-4 and then she hit a service winner on the no-ad point to hold for 5-5. Contreras would go on to win the next eight points to close it out 6-0, 7-5 to give Vanderbilt its second SEC Tournament Championship in school history. 

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A year ago Texas Tech won 28 matches and hosted a NCAA Regional but going into tonight's match against No. 4 Baylor the Red Raiders were winless in the Big 12 while having an overall record of just 10-14. Baylor was down a man with Jimmy Bendeck (#4 singles/#2 doubles) a late scratch so BU had to make adjustments to both its doubles and singles lineup. Texas Tech took advantage of the shift and picked up wins at No. 2 and No. 3 to take the early 1-0 lead. In singles play, Texas Tech would add five first sets and both Jolan Cailleau and Jackson Cobb would win in straight sets to make it 3-0. Baylor fought back to get splits at No. 3, No. 4, and No. 5 while Texas Tech got a split at No. 2. 

Baylor's Johannes Schretter, Max Tchoutakian, and Will Little would each pull through to tie the match at 3-3. Texas Tech senior Carlos DiLaura led Baylor freshman Constantin Frantzen 4-1 in the third at No. 5 but Frantzen took the next two to pull within 4-3. DiLaura broke back for 5-3 but Frantzen broke and held for 5-5 and two games later it went to a tiebreak. DiLaura went up 4-0 in the tiebreak but Frantzen rallied to tie it at 6-6. Frantzen had match points at 7-6 and 8-7 but DiLaura pulled it out 10-8.

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The 69th Blue Gray Tennis Classic came to an end on Saturday with the Rice men and Auburn women capturing titles by winning three matches in a 30-hour window. Rice started the day on Friday with a 4-0 win over Boise State and then Rice and Virginia Tech met in the semifinals with the doubles point played on Friday while singles was played Saturday morning. Rice only dropped two points in doubles and then the Owls won 9 of 11 sets in singles with David Warren clinching the 4-0 win. In Saturday afternoon's championship match, Rice took the doubles point with wins at No. 1 and No. 2 but then the teams split first sets in singles. South Carolina picked up straight set wins from Andrew Schafer and Alex Fennell while Rice's Tommy Bennett won in straight sets for Rice. With the match tied at 2-2 each of the remaining matches would be decided by few points late in the third set. 

South Carolina's Yancy Dennis served for the match at No. 3 up 5-4 in the third but Rice's Jake Hansen broke back, held, and broke again to win 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 which put Rice ahead 3-2. Rice sophomore Eric Rutledge would clinch the match at No. 5 by breaking Thomas Mayronne's 4-4 third set service game and then serving the match out to take it 3-6, 6-2, 6-4. The match at No. 1 went unfinished with Rice's Jamie Malik leading 4-2 in the third set tiebreak after Malik had fought off two match points to force the tiebreak 

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It's not uncommon for a No. 2 seed to knock out a host during the Kick-Off Weekend but when the No. 2 seed is Utah State and the No. 1 is TCU the idea of Utah State pulling it off was something that few outside of Logan could have ever imagined. TCU, which finished last year ranked 57 spots higher than Utah State, came into the match riding a 31-match home court winning streak while Utah State was only participating in a Kick-Off Weekend regional for the second time in school history. The Aggies, led by first-year head coach James Wilson, got off to a slow start in doubles after TCU jumped out to early break leads at No. 1 and No. 2. TCU's Jerry Lopez and Reese Stalder only needed 20 minutes to win 6-0 at No. 1 but the other two courts would tighten up with Utah State breaking back at No. 2 while No. 3 also went back and forth. TCU's No. 2 team of Alex Rybakov and Guillermo Nunez retook the break at 5-3 and then Rybakov served it out to win 6-3 which gave TCU the doubles point and early 1-0 lead. 

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TCU and Texas both took one on the chin on Friday night but each rebounded nicely today by going on the road and defeating a quality opponent. TCU dropped a tough 4-2 match on Friday night at No. 13 Northwestern and today they were playing at the site of where their season ended a year ago - Tulsa. The Golden Hurricane were coming off an upset win over Texas so you had to figure it was going to be tough for them to play as well as they did on Friday. 

TCU head coach David Roditi stuck with the same doubles pairings but he swapped his teams at No. 1 and No. 2 and both of those teams would be the ones to get wins. Guillermo Nunez and Alex Rybakov cruised to a 6-1 win at No. 2 while Reese Stalder and Jerry Lopez broke to take a 4-3 lead at No. 1 and would win 6-4. TCU didn't waste any time in singles and took five opening sets with Tulsa only able to take a set at No. 6. Cameron Norrie, Jerry Lopez, and Guillermo Nunez would each win in straight sets at No. 1, No. 3, and No. 4 with Norrie getting the clincher at No. 1. 

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The fall season came to a close on Sunday with Baylor, Oregon, North Texas, and Rice getting the strongest all-around performances from several of its players. See who won titles and see who came up short.   

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Wednesday was a rough day to be a top 20 team on the road as both #13 Ole Miss and #19 Northwestern got upset.

In Houston, Rice picked up its 1st win over a top 20 opponent since 2009 when the Owls stunned Northwestern 4-1.  Rice took the doubles and then picked up singles wins from Srikar Alla, Max Andrews and David Warren at 1, 2, and 5.  Northwestern's Logan Staggs won at #4 singles in a losing effort and Konrad Zieba made his season debut at #3 singles for the Cats and led when the match was halted.

Rice recap

"All through the season, we have always stressed the importance of building the energy and putting up a fight no matter the outcome," Ustundag said. "Tonight you saw that happen over and over as they picked each other up. We started fast and never let up."

"This was a total team win," Ustundag said. "I think that perhaps Northwestern was a little flat at the start and we took advantage of that at the start. We played great doubles at one and three to get the point and then went right back out and took four first sets in singles.

"David never let up all night," Ustundag noted. "Getting off the court quickly and making it 2-0 really kept the pressure on them and you could see the impact that second point going up on the scoreboard had on the other matches."

"Srikar was the MVP of the match tonight," Ustundag said. "Right about the time when perhaps some of our early energy was running out, he gave us another boost." 

Northwestern recap

FYI, the number beside the player's school is the player's Universal Tennis Rating as of March 25th.  For more details about UTR check out their website. 

Rice 4, #19 Northwestern 1
3/25/2015 at Houston, Texas (George R. Brown Tennis Center)
Singles competition
1. Srikar Alla (RICE 13.19) def. #92 Sam Shropshire (NU 13.85) 2-6, 6-1, 6-4
2. Max Andrews (RICE 13.22) def. #102 Strong Kirchheimer (NU 13.74) 6-3, 7-5
3. Konrad Zieba (NU 13.69) vs. Jamie Malik (RICE 12.81) 7-5, 5-5, unfinished
4. Logan Staggs (NU 13.25) def. Adam Gustafsson (RICE 13.06) 6-4, 6-4
5. David Warren (RICE 13.16) def. Fedor Baev (NU 12.95) 6-3, 6-4
6. Gustavo Gonzalez (RICE 11.81) vs. Alp Horoz (NU 12.87) 7-6, 3-6, 2-1, unfinished
Doubles competition
1. Max Andrews/David Warren (RICE) def. #69 Sam Shropshire/Alex Pasareanu (NU) 6-4
2. Fedor Baev/Strong Kirchheimer (NU) def. Jamie Malik/Zach Yablon (RICE) 6-2
3. Gustavo Gonzalez/Adam Gustafsson (RICE) def. Konrad Zieba/Alp Horoz (NU) 6-3
Match Notes
Northwestern 12-6; National ranking #19
Rice 8-11
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3,1); Singles (5,4,1,2)

T-2:40 A-100

It took 3 weeks longer than expected but Ole Miss and Mississippi State finally duked it out in the Battle for the Magnolia State.  The match was originally scheduled for March 5th but was postponed due to poor weather and State's indoor facility only having 2 courts.  

State got the early momentum by taking the doubles point and then each team won 3 1st sets.  Mate Cutura and Rishab Argawal extended the lead to 3-0 with straight sets wins at 3 and 5.  Vinod Gowda would get Ole Miss on the board with a 7-5, 6-4 win at #6 over Julian Cash but Ole Miss wasn't able to break through anywhere else despite having early leads at 2 and 4.  

It looked like Florian Lakat was going to clinch it for State when he opened up a 7-6, 3-0 over Nik Scholtz at #1 singles but the Rebel senior would come back and take the 2nd set in a tiebreak to force a 3rd.  

Then it looked like William Kallberg was going to close the gap to 3-2 when he led Tassilo Schmid 5-2 in the 3rd at #4 but despite having 3 match points on his 5-3 service game he would get broke and end up losing 5 straight games to drop the match 7-5 in the 3rd which gave State the 4-1 upset win over Ole Miss.  

Check out the Mississippi State recap for more in depth details. 

Miss State recap

"It's great for our team, our fans and our program for everyone to see how we compete and the atmosphere we bring out here, MSU coach Matt Roberts said. "It's really a great day for everyone to see what Mississippi State tennis is all about with this young team.

"It means a lot to me to clinch against Ole Miss in my senior season, Schmid said. "Down 5-3 and a break, I just kept thinking Man, this is not over yet.' I kept playing and bringing energy for my teammates still on the court and, next thing you know, I had saved three match points and ended up clinching.

"It was unreal today, between the feeling on the court and the crowd in the stands, Schmid said. "It was something very special in my last season of my college career.

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Going into today's match against #12 Wake Forest, NC State had played in 11 matches that finished with a 4-3 score with the Pack on the losing end in 7 of those 11 matches.  It was just last weekend that NC State had #16 Virginia Tech on the ropes but the Pack couldn't slam the door shut and watched as the Hokies #5 rallied from 5-2 down in the 3rd to win.

Today NC State finally broke through as they upset Wake Forest 4-3.  The Wolfpack took the doubles point with wins at 2 and 3 and then picked up singles wins from Simon Norenius, Austin Powell, and Beck Bond at 2, 3, and 4 to seal the deal.  The match was played indoors at NC State's 4-court indoor facility so the matches at 5 and 6 didn't go on until a court opened up.  Both were played out after the clinch with Wake winning both.

NC State recap
Wake Forest recap

FYI, the number beside the player's school is the player's Universal Tennis Rating as of March 26th.  For more details about UTR check out their website. 

#38 NC State 4, #12 Wake Forest 3
Mar 28, 2015 at Raleigh, N.C. (J.W. Isenhour Tennis Center)
Singles competition
1. #27 Noah Rubin (WFU 14.79) def. #60 Robbie Mudge (ST 13.63) 6-2, 6-4
2. Simon Norenius (ST 13.81) def. #8 Romain Bogaerts (WFU 14.38) 7-5, 1-6, 6-2
3. #85 Austin Powell (ST 13.53) def. #80 Jon Ho (WFU 13.63) 2-6, 7-5, 6-2
4. Beck Bond (ST 13.43) def. Skander Mansouri (WFU 13.28) 6-1, 6-3
5. Christian Seraphim (WFU 13.71) def. Nick Horton (ST 13.46) 7-6 (4), 6-7 (2), 10-5
6. Keivon Tabrizi (WFU 12.89) def. Thomas Weigel (ST 13.38) 7-6 (1), 6-2
Doubles competition
1. #10 Skander Mansouri/Christian Seraphim (WFU) def. Nick Horton/Beck Bond (ST) 8-4
2. Simon Norenius/Robbie Mudge (ST) def. Jon Ho/Noah Rubin (WFU) 8-6
3. Thomas Weigel/Ian Dempster (ST) def. Romain Bogaerts/Keivon Tabrizi (WFU) 8-4
Match Notes
NC State 10-8; National ranking #38
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (4,1,2,3,6,5)

Florida State jumped out to a 3-0 lead but had to hold off a Dartmouth charge to win 4-3.  FSU freshman Terrell Whitehurst clinched the win with a 6-3, 6-7, 6-3 win at #6 singles.

Florida State recap

"Today showed how important the doubles point really is, associate coach Nick Crowell said. "We were a few match points down at third doubles, and came through in the clutch to win it. In a 4-3 match, you can see how important that doubles point is.

"Our depth really showed through today, winning at 4, 5, and 6, Crowell said. "We knew they were going to come in and be strong all the way through the lineup with two ranked players. They came in and did a great job, and I'm just glad we were able to close that match out at No. 6."

Dartmouth recap

#32 Florida State 4, #60 Dartmouth 3
3/28/2015 at Tallahassee, Fla. (Scott Speicher Tennis Center)
Singles competition
1. #86 Dovydas Sakinis (DART 13.58) def. #106 Benjamin Lock (FS 13.86) 6-4, 6-2
2. #91 Chris Kipouras (DART 13.37) def. Marco Nunez (FS 13.57) 6-3, 2-6, 6-4
3. Ciro Riccardi (DART 13.15) def. #90 Michael Rinaldi (FS 13.62) 6-4, 1-6, 6-4
4. C. Gonzalez Mendez (FS 13.49) def. Diego Pedraza (DART 12.80) 6-0, 6-3
5. Jose Gracia (FS 13.37) def. Max Schmidt (DART 12.68) 6-3, 6-4
6. Terrell Whitehurst (FS 12.67) def. Sam Todd (DART 12.75) 6-3, 6-7 (3-7), 6-3
Doubles competition
1. #30 Benjamin Lock/Marco Nunez (FS) def. #21 Chris Kipouras/Dovydas Sakinis (DART) 6-2
2. C. Gonzalez Mendez/Michael Rinaldi (FS) vs. Max Schmidt/Tannenbaum (DART) 4-5, unf
3. Terrance Whitehurst/Terrell Whitehurst (FS) def. Diego Pedraza/Sam Todd (DART) 7-5
Match Notes:
Dartmouth 9-8; National ranking #60
Florida State 16-5; National ranking #32
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3); Singles (4,5,1,2,3,6)

T-3:00 A-225

Auburn started off on the right foot by taking the doubles point but Florida was too strong at both the top and bottom of the lineup and pulled out a 4-1 win.  

Florida recap

Shelton's Notes Head Coach Bryan Shelton
On reactions to today's win

I'm really proud of our guys and how they responded to adversity today. I'm proud of JB [Jordan Belga] for coming through after getting down today. I'm so happy to see him clinch the match. Diego [Hidalgo], Elliott [Orkin] and Josh [Wardell] really were outstanding in singles. It was also nice to see Gordon [Watson] and Chase [Perez-Blanco] battle with what was probably not their best stuff. It was a great team win.

Auburn recap

"You have to give Florida credit. They did not panic after doubles," Auburn head coach Eric Shore said. "We have to be better at the top of the lineup and we were not today. We need everybody playing well and we were not getting that. You are not going to beat a team like that if you are not ready and you are not battling."

#20 Florida 4, #45 Auburn 1
Mar 28, 2015 at Auburn, Ala. (Yarbrough Tennis Center)
Singles competition
1. Diego Hidalgo (FLA 14.02) def. Lukas Ollert (AU 14.11) 6-0, 6-0
2. Elliott Orkin (FLA 14.11) def. Maxime Hinnisdaels (AU 13.91) 6-2, 6-0
3. Gordon Watson (FLA 13.75) vs. Marko Krickovic (AU 13.75) 6-4, 4-5, unf
4. Dante Saleh (AU 12.93) vs. Chase Perez-Blanco (FLA 13.54) 6-4, 4-3, unf
5. Jordan Belga (FLA 12.97) def. Joseph Van Dooren (AU 12.25) 6-4, 6-3
6. Joshua Wardell (FLA 13.08) def. Oliver Plaskett (AU 11.94) 6-0, 6-3
Doubles competition
1. Marko Krickovic/Lukas Ollert (AU) def. Diego Hidalgo/Gordon Watson (FLA) 6-3
2. Elliott Orkin/Maxx Lipman (FLA) def. Oliver Plaskett/Petar Tomic (AU) 6-1
3. Joseph Van Dooren/Maxime Hinnisdaels (AU) def. Oliver Landert/Joshua Wardell (FLA) 7-6 (7-3)
Match Notes:
Florida 10-6; National ranking #20
Auburn 14-8; National ranking #45
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1,3); Singles (2,1,6,5)
Played outdoors
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